(Last Updated on : 11/10/2010)
Nanjil Nadu struggle was a result of the widespread caste division in South India. It exposed the true nature of the Vellala caste and the torture Christians had to face in their hands. The Vellalas, a high caste in the princely state of Trvancore, resided in Thovalai and Agasteeswarem regions. The Vellalas of Bhoothapandi, Maravas and certain others together assaulted the Christians of Thittuvilai area. Christians were physically attacked in Nanjil Nadu Struggle as they felt that they were losing their high society status. The missionaries worked hard for the social, economical and educational development of the low caste people. As a result the Vellalas felt insulted as the mindset of the low caste was changing due to the influence of Christianity
In Nanjil Nadu a school teacher along with thirteen other Christians were dragged out of their houses and put into the Bhoothapandi Satram Jail. Some to escape the agony confessed that they were not Christians. Those who denied that they were Christians were let off and others bore the brunt. Seeing this pitiable condition of the Protestant Christians, the Muslims and the Catholic Christians were delighted. Most of the castes felt that the growth of the Protestant Christians would be pain in the neck for them. Riots began in the year 1828 which went on for six months. The women could not wear upper garments. Mead and Mault requested the British Resident in Travancore to provide protection to the Christians. Thereafter Dewan Venketa Rao was told to look into the matter. Accordingly he came to the Padmanabhapuram Fort on 11th January1829 and started enquiry.
A government order was released accordingly in February 1829. Those women who converted to Christianity were allowed to wear loose jackets and were disallowed to wear attire like that of the women belonging to Nair community. Ooliam services were to be done everyday excepting Sundays. However they cannot be forced to do those services in the Hindu temples. No high caste mannerisms and customs would be imitated by the low caste. No places of worship would be constructed without the sanction of the Government. If anybody had complaints they should inform it to government officials only. This order was mainly given out to disallow Christians from complaining to the Missionaries. Many missionaries felt that this judgement was to contain the growth of Christianity. No relief as such was provided as those who were in jail due to false cases were still suffering. Their families were starving. Many complaints were made to the government but nothing could be done virtually. Christians were constantly attacked by the Vellalas and it was a lifelong story.